"The Spiritual Landscapes of Adrienne Farb, 1980-2006" Cantor Art Gallery, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts

By Leduc, Joe | New Criterion, October 2006 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

"The Spiritual Landscapes of Adrienne Farb, 1980-2006" Cantor Art Gallery, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts


Leduc, Joe, New Criterion


"The Spiritual Landscapes of Adrienne Farb, 1980-2006" Cantor Art Gallery, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts. August 30, 200-December 16, 2006

After a century in which it was first hailed as the art of the future, then as the triumph of postwar American painting, and ultimately challenged and reduced to one possibility amid many, what is the state of abstract art today? Frank Stella, once modernism's golden boy, turned himself into an aesthetic contortionist decades ago, trying to escape the dead end into which he'd painted himself. Even earlier, Philip Guston provided the prescient example for many younger artists with his move back to representation. Beyond painting, the rise of Conceptual art and related practices tells a story far too familiar to need rehearsing here: as the critic Lane Relyea has written, "sometime between the '60s and the '80s, discourse replaced painting as the dominant medium in the art world."

So the short answer to the question seems to be: "not good." Yet many painters continue to work abstractly with success, and the exhibition "The Spiritual Landscapes of Adrienne Farb, 1980-2006" at the College of the Holy Cross offers a survey of just such a one. The Chicago-born Adrienne Farb, who returned to her native land in 2001 after more than two decades in Paris and (briefly) London, has spent her career painting abstractly, creating over the decades a body of work remarkable for its compositional fluidity and surprising color. The exhibition shows Farb's development since her days as a young artist learning how to paint in the parks and museums of France, and provides a view of an abstract artist continuing to work without compromise or apology.

With an undergraduate education in art history, and not art making, Farb began her career by doing what she knew how to do--look closely--and let that guide her hand. Her earliest efforts show flatly painted landscapes and still fifes in muted color, patient attempts at getting something set on canvas. The exhibition also features a number of Farb's sketchbooks, in which the trees and pools of the Luxembourg Gardens are reduced to elements of color and shape--efforts that would inform her practice, though they've never served as compositional studies per se. By 1986, Farb developed what became her compositional mainstay: intuitively built vertically oriented bands that create complex relationships of color and shape in flat, or very shallow, space. The bands' origins lie in her experience of looking at and drawing the urban landscapes in which she worked, but without maintaining a resemblance, as in the paintings of Joan Mitchell, to actual environments. These "spiritual landscapes" are fully abstract, a distillation of past looking into paint.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

"The Spiritual Landscapes of Adrienne Farb, 1980-2006" Cantor Art Gallery, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.